Freedom is a precious thing.
We’ll honor those who paid the price to keep us free at the end of the month, but it’s never too early to start.
Americans have spilled their blood in every conflict since the Revolution to protect and preserve the way of life to which we have become accustomed.
It is a way of life we take for granted sometimes, I think.
Maybe we won’t anymore when we emerge from this pandemic and are free to resume the activities we once considered routine.
I’d always grown up with an awareness of the military and its mission.
I’ve always been grateful for its members, their sacrifices and their families’ sacrifices.
Since I was young, I’ve seen helicopters in the sky all of the time.
They became so familiar they began to blend in, until they seemed to me as much a natural part of the expanse as clouds or birds.
I knew they played a role in the safety of our country.
I knew they were part of the reason the United States is the greatest country on earth, but their noise blended in and became part of the soundtrack of my days.
Every Memorial Day, Forth of July or Veterans Day was cause to pause and remember the reasons we are free, but I think the reasons started to soak in for me when I listened to stories from those who’d paid for my freedom.
They were stories from people who’d lived the pages of my history books, like the World War II veteran who parachuted onto Utah Beach on D-Day or the one who flew over the surrender ceremony.
Their were Vietnam veterans who threw flames into jungles and spent long nights sunk in mud with their backs against trees while bullets hummed an eerie note of death over their heads.
The more I listened to them — the more I heard them talk about their buddies who went to foreign lands and didn’t come back alive — the more those holidays meant.
America has her warts, like all countries. She also has brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way so I don’t have to.
They’ve given their minds, bodies and lives to protect me.
Because of them, I can live in freedom instead of fear.
It’s not Memorial Day yet, but it’s never too early to remember those who paid the price to keep us free.
This post is an answer to Sue’s prompt, which is “free.”